According to an exclusive report by Football.London, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that out-of-contract attacker Bakary Sako has turned down a new deal to stay at Selhurst Park, and Championship side Leeds United must do everything they can to bring him to Elland Road this summer.
Football.London report that the Mali international was one of four first-team players whose contracts expired at the end of June that Hodgson wanted to keep in south London, but the former England boss revealed on Thursday that he expects the 30-year-old to go.
Speaking to Football.London, the 70-year-old said: “No, he is not signing, he doesn’t want to sign.”
Sako, who primarily plays out wide but has also shown that he can feature through the middle too, has scored eight goals and provided one assist in 50 appearances in all competitions for the Eagles, with injury blighting his 2017/18 campaign in particular.
Well, new Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa will be desperate to strengthen his attacking options before the start of the new Championship campaign given Pierre-Michel Lasogga has returned to Hamburg following a loan spell and Jay-Roy Grot and Pawel Cibicki have been sent out on loan, and Sako could be the ideal candidate.
The 30-year-old is quick, tricky and versatile, and the fact that he has an impressive record of 24 goals and 21 assists in 78 games, as per Transfermarkt, in the second tier proves the quality that he would bring to the Yorkshire outfit, who must demand an £8.1m attacker in exchange if West Bromwich Albion move for Kemar Roofe.
He is a player that would excite a frustrated United faithful whose transfer business has been few and far between so far, and he would surely help them in their bid to finally return to the Premier League this term.